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Jimmy Page's new book The Anthology is a must for hardcore fans

The sonic sorcerer opens the Led Zeppelin archive to reveal how the magic was made in his new book

Jimmy Page book
(Image: © Genesis)

It all started with Bill Wyman. It was common knowledge that the erstwhile Rolling Stones' bassist, always an assiduous collector of memorabilia and meticulous archivist, had been working on 'the book' for years (decades even) so when his full-colour paving slab memoir Rolling With The Stones finally arrived in '02, fans were impressed, but not exactly surprised. 

Shame all bands aren't so 'respectful of their legacy', we thought. Others of us thought 'anal', but both amount to the same thing. Of course the intervening years have revealed that a surprising number of rock stars have also gathered comprehensive personal archives with which to dazzle us: either via museum shows (Bowie/Stones/Floyd) or beautifully presented, high-end books. More often than not, just in time for Christmas. Funny that. 


The Anthology by Jimmy Page: was £45, now £32.49
One of Classic Rock's best music books of 2020, right now The Anthology has 28% knocked off it at Amazon. A perfect gift for Led Zeppelin fans everywhere.View Deal

Perhaps miraculously, Jimmy Page had enough foresight to squirrel away a dazzling, broad-ranging collection of priceless Rosebuds from his past while conquering the planet. From chorister to elder statesman, through ace session player, The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin and beyond, Page didn't just live life way beyond what most of us would reasonably consider to be the the very maximum, he diarised, hoarded, stored and, one imagines, kept receipts. Which for those on the outside, with their noses pressed to the glass and 45 quid in their pockets, is very good news indeed. 

Those paying attention will be well aware of Jimmy Page By Jimmy Page, from the same publisher: a beautiful thing, but more of a broad-stroked photographic memoir, packed with your favourite Zeppelin shots and perked up with illuminating captions from the author. 

You could call The Anthology JP By JP's second volume (Jimmy does), but it's better than that. Defined by Page as a showcase for 'the detail beyond the detail', Anthology taps into the real hardcore fans' deep desire to truly sweat the small stuff; there's minutiae in abundance, details of who played what on what and when, close-ups of stage costumes, more detailed first-person biographical detail than ever before, absorbing recording insights and guitar porn. Lots and lots of hardcore guitar porn: double-necks, triple-necks; amps and FX. Gibsons, Fenders, Parsons White string-benders. Dragon guitars, Black Beauties, sitars. Strings 'n' mandolins, violin bows 'n' Theremins. A veritable feast. 

Page, clearly a guitar porn connoisseur, has done a sterling job, and the photography – embroidered dragon suits where you can identify every stitch – is uniformly exquisite, but enough already... 

An essential purchase. 

Ian Fortnam

Commissioning both album reviews and live reviews, Classic Rock reviews editor Ian has been fearlessly filtering the rock from the cock since 2003.